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-sex marriage. torment prop 8 arguments. on wednesday it's arguments about the federal defense of marriage act that denies federal benefits including tax benefits to same-sex couples who are married in states that allow that. let's go live to cheryl hurd in san francisco for tonight's same-sex marriage rally. cheryl? >> reporter: steve, the fight for gay marriage is being heard all over the bay area. as you can see they are preparing for a marsh that starts in the castro and will make its way to san francisco city hall. chris worthington is holding one of the rainbow flags that will fly at city hall on tuesday and wednesday as the supreme court hears oral arguments on prop 8 and defense of marriage act. >> i don't think the purpose of flying the flag in oakland, berkeley or san leandro is to try to change the supreme court's mind. it's to give encouragement and support to people that believe in marriage equality. >> reporter: it makes sense for support to come from the city of berkeley. two of the plaintiffs in the case to overturn prop 8 are berkeley residents. >> i think the more people talk
, the future of prop 8 and the defense of marriage act will be decided in the supreme court. nbc's chief legal analyst, pete williams, joins us from our washington, d.c., newsroom with some insight. >> reporter: this will be the first time the u.s. supreme court has ever taken a serious look at the issue of marriage for gay couples. on tuesday the justices take up proposition 8, the voter initiative passed in 2008 that blocked same-sex marriage in california. two lower courts have found it unconstitutional. as for what might happen if the court strikes it down, it could issue a decision that would apply only to california, allowing marriage to resume. or it could do what it's being urged to do by the two couples in this case, one from berkeley, the other from l.a., and say that no state can block same-sex marriage, or the court could uphold prop 8. wednesday's case is a challenge to doma, the defense of marriage act. it blocks the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in the states where they are legal. after first defending the law, the obama administration switched sides and
: on wednesday, the court considers the defense of marriage act, which denies an array of federal benefits to same-sex spouses, like edy windsor of new york. when her spouse died, the irs sent a $363,000 bill and refused to recognize her marriage. >> i couldn't believe that they were making a stranger of this person i lived with and loved for 43 something years. >> reporter: in new york, hundreds rallied in support of gay marriage and expressed hopes this week will be a turning point. >> the question before the supreme court this week will be, am i full american or am i not? >> reporter: the very definition of marriage up for debate in the highest court in the land. brian mooar, nbc news, washington. >>> pope francis presided over his first palm sunday mass today in front of an audience of perhaps a quarter million people, telling them to be humble and young at heart. nbc's claudia la vonga reports from rome. >> reporter: pope francis celebrated his first palm sunday mass to mark the thought of holy week on sunday in st. petersburg. he was welcomed by 250,000 people from all over the world
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